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of an Arab Dragoman, unless guarded by precautions like the above. They, are, however, for the most part, civil and obliging.
By a well-arranged journey of this kind, extending over a range of from Cairo lat. 30° N., to the second Cataract in Nubia, lat. 22° N. and back, the invalid may enjoy one continued series of bright warm days, with cloudless skies, and a dry, balmy, exhilarating atmosphere, the mere inhalation of which, to a debilitated and bronchitic patient, is an indescribable luxury. He feels, too, that this state of things is not merely an accidental occurrence, but one on which he can safely rely from day to day, with but very few exceptions, and he makes his arrangements accordingly, so far as the weather is concerned, with almost mathematical accuracy.
No reasonable person need now complain of the dietary on the Nile, which, though not very varied, may be made sufficiently so, and practically, generally is so, and almost always well adapted to the climate. The number, variety, and excellence of the dishes supplied to our table, were often a subject of very agreeable surprise.
The annoyance from vermin on the Nile has been very much exaggerated, and the boats are now fitted up with scrupulous cleanliness, and regard to the comfort and tastes of European invalids; nor is there now anything which need deter a delicate minded lady undertaking the voyage.
There are, however, and we have met with some such, who not only derive no advantage by leaving the comforts of their English home, and wintering in Egypt, but on the contrary, essentially suffer from it. These are either they who labour under some subacute disease; or whose symptoms are too far advanced to enable them to bear with impunity the little inconveniences, and occasional annoyances inseparable from a boat lite with Arab sailors, or they are those who neglect the precautions which are essentially necessary for the full development of the advantages of a Nile voyage. The great difference of temperature between night and day, even in the shade, independent of the bright mid-day sun and the night fogs render it desirable that invalids labouring under chest disease should not expose themselves outside the boat much after sunset por before sunrise, and certainly never without being protected by sufficient woollen clothing. These latter precautions are not so much needed between Thebes and Wady Halfa (a second cataract), as the nights there are warm and free from dew. Nor should the weak and enervated needlessly expose themselves, as some do, for many successive hours, to the direct rays of a scorching sun, or imbibe for nearly an equal period, the mephitic air of the interior recesses of the tombs, or of the great pyramid.
It has been remarked by a recent writer on the climate of Algiers :-“It is not of small moment to the invalid, that pleasure and amusement meet him at every step, that he has neither fatigue nor risk in seeking them; that they are all of a nature to amuse, without exciting him, adapted to all tastes, and to all capabilities.
In this point of view, Algiers contrasts most favourably with other places of resort, where the objects of interest are chilly cathedrals, cold picture galleries, and such like, which fashion demands the stranger shall visit, be he an invalid, or in health, and for which he must assume a spurious enthusiasm, if from defect of nature or education, he lacks the taste.
It is of real importance that the invalid shall leave his room, not full of some excursion to a cathedral or ruin, but simply to be in the open air, to wander about where his fancy may lead him, sure of finding himself gratified and amused, He returns ere he feels fatigue, for he has no prescribed mission or task which he must accomplish, in good spirits and refreshed, with as much to talk of and think of as he can desire.”
Admitting the force of the above truths, it may safely be asserted that in all these particulars, as in most, though not all others, Egypt ranks much higher than either Algiers or Madeira as a winter resort for the European invalid.
I had prepared some remarks on the peculiarities and merits of each of these, as well as of those of the south of Europe, as compared with those of Egypt, and endeavoured to point out the classes of patients likely to derive benefit from them. No one can have seen much of continental places of resort for British Invalids without being painfully impressed with the conviction, that much unnecessary suffering, physical and mental, had been imposed on many of them, from an ignorance of the peculiar attributes of the several places, and the class of diseases and patients they were calculated to relieve.
The Physician has failed to point out to them regiones quas elegire, quas vitare,” or doing this, he has sent them from all the comforts and advantages of a home, and the careful attention of dear relatives and friends, to the discomforts and annoyances, inseparable, more or less, from a residence amongst strangers in a foreign land, when there could be no reasonable hope that the sufferer's troubles could be counterbalanced by a perfect or even partial restoration to health. That very climate which would at an early stage of the disease, and under certain conditions, have wrought much good, becomes in the advanced stage, and under different circumstances, the certain accelerator of a fatal issue. I must, however, defer these remarks to a future opportunity, as time will not allow of their adequate discussion.
In addition to the numerous and undoubted advantages
enumerated above, and which, in combination and perfection, I believe, the climate of Upper Egypt and Nubia, possess over every other yet known to us; it has many others which should not be lightly passed over. The dyspeptic, the sufferer from chest disease, the rheumatic, the man whose constitution has been impaired by sedentary habits, anxious and harassing pursuits, or irregular living, may here, if anywhere, find the necessary means for recovering his lost vigour of mind and body.
In a brilliant and balmy climate, where mere existence is felt to be a positive luxury, and where the mind enjoys a serenity almost unknown in our foggy land, there is scarcely ever experienced any feeling of ennui, even when the traveller is confined to his boat, and that passing but slowly up the river, by tracking. The naturalist, and especially the entomologist, the botanist in a minor degree may ever find materials for examining and collecting. The sportsman may with his line or gun always meet with abundant occupation. The archæologist and antiquarian reap a rich harvest in the examination and contemplation of the wondrous remains of ancient art and science, as seen in the temples and tombs. The visits to adjoining hamlets -marking the habits and customs of the people, which illustrate so powerfully sacred writ, and classical authors—the pleasing intercourse between fellow-travellers going up or returning down the Nile, and the interchange of books or newspapers-making meteorological observations and entries in the diary, with a moderate proportion of pleasing and instructive reading-noticing the distinctness of the geological features, or the peculiar appearance of the moon, as white when on the horizon, as in mid-sky; or the sun set setting in a glory indescribable, to be succeeded by constellations brilliant and beautifuladmiring the deceitful mirage, or tracing the course and direction of the lofty sand-pillar-sketching the various objects, as the panorama glides slowly and pleasingly by—these and similar pursuits, cause the day to pass away so quietly and agreeably, that at the end of the voyage one is surprised to find that so much time has for ever fled.
“What dire necessities on every hand,
Our art, our strength, our fortitude require !
FIFTEENTH ORDINARY MEETING.
ROYAL INSTITUTION, 31st May, 1858.
Dr. INMAN, PRESIDENT, in the Chair.
C. COLLINGWOOD, Esq., A.M., M.B., was elected an Ordinary Member.
The SECRETARY gave notice of a motion to alter the period of the Society's meetings, by advancing the session slightly, filling up the gap in passion week, and cutting off the May meetings.
Mr. W. Danson forwarded for exhibition several specimens of cotton,-one called "Barraguda," and the other, the produce of the poplar tree; also a silky fibre of extreme tenuity, the production of an Australian insect, the habits of which were as yet but imperfectly known.
Mr. WHITEHEAD exhibited some large specimens of the Mytilus edulis, from the Bristol Channel.